I don’t know about you , but sometimes I feel like freak!
I have chosen to live my life in a way that seems foreign to others. I can remember my mother-in-law asking very early on in our marriage when Jim and I would move back to the US. I’m sure she expected us to get that wild travel impulse out of our system and settle down. However, it didn’t really happen that way.
After dating and getting married in Germany many moons ago, Jim and I have always treasured our time spent wandering through the tiny villages of the Benelux where we lived. Villages with enchanting names like Echternach and Bernkastel-Kues captured our imaginations with fortresses and festivals. Ancient cities (much older than anything in the US) captivated us with stories of intrigue and warring tribes. We took our children to all kinds of museums, sobering cemeteries, massive cathedrals, and we all tried everything. We fell in love there, not just with each other, but with this life. We never planned to give it up, and still don’t.
We tried that American dream stuff. We did go to the States for one eight-year stint. We bought a house; the kids were in Girl Scouts and bands and soccer teams. We were still living a bit on the edge, the Last Frontier, in Alaska. So, adventure and wildlife were what we chased. We never stopped adventuring or even traveling during that time, and we loved every minute of it. But, we longed to get back to our life of exploration, traveling through unknown countries, eating new foods, meeting people that were basically the same as us but lived life so differently. We couldn’t wait to find a way back into that life. So, yeah, we sold the house.
We both became teachers because we knew that was one way we could continue to travel, living in other places, and visiting that many more. We made that choice purposefully, and it’s worked out for us. After living together on three continents and six different countries, we still can’t get enough. We still love it.
We don’t own a house and really don’t plan to. As a rule, we don’t have much stuff. Long ago we realized that it wasn’t things that made us happy. We’ve given up shopping. Jim and I really love to do things, to spend our money on memories rather than things I have to dust. I really hate to dust! Even for birthdays, anniversaries, and other gift-giving times, we choose to find something fun to do rather than buy something.
This week was our anniversary. Let’s just say, we’ve been married quite a few years. So, many of my friends and co-workers asked me what we are doing to celebrate? Will we buy a gift, give cards, receive flowers? Nope. None of the above. This weekend we are splurging a little as we travel to the south of France and Monaco. We would have traveled there anyway. In fact, we’ve been planning this trip for some time, because the main purpose for going is to see the Menton Lemon Festival. The fact that it happens to be near our anniversary is just happenstance and allows us the opportunity to justify going to Monte Carlo and living it up for one night, spending just a bit more on our hotel and dinner restaurant, with a dessert of a little gambling. Just because we can.
So, it’s okay to be a freak sometimes. I’m happy. Jim’s happy. We’ve built our lives around what we love most…exploration!
How about you? Have you built the life that makes you happy?
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